Cook County Sheriff’s Police have launched “Operation Deadly Distractions” to curb the rampant and dangerous use of cell phones by motorists, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced at an October 23rd press conference with national safety experts.
Sheriff’s Police began the operation’s weekly saturation and sting patrols today, targeting distracted driving in Niles and Palos townships. These targeted operations will be conducted throughout the county and are in addition to a heightened daily focus by all Sheriff’s Police on distracted driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says causes more than 3,000 deaths a year.
“Put the phone down. You are endangering yourself and everyone on the road when you are not paying attention,” Sheriff Dart said. “We are hoping that increased enforcement of these lifesaving laws, along with public awareness, will start to have an impact on what is now a disturbingly common habit while driving.”
Sheriff Dart announced the operation during National Teen Driver Safety Week alongside representatives from the National Safety Council, the nation’s leading safety advocate for more than 100 years. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nick Smith, chief operating officer for the National Safety Council, spoke at today’s press conference about the dangers of distracted driving and ways parents can help teach their children to avoid such behavior.
“Ending distracted driving is everyone’s responsibility, and parents play an important role in establishing good driving behavior with their teens,” Smith said. “If we’re going to save lives, we need high-visibility enforcement campaigns like the one being conducted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. When we pair enforcement with strong laws and education, we can change behavior.”